If you have ever come into the house after a hard day working in the garden or after a long walk in the countryside and sunk yourself into a warm bath then you will know just how soothing and relaxing heat can be. A shower may be an efficient and cheap way of cleaning the body but a warm bath can do things a shower cannot do! Similarly, you have probably felt the relief that a hot water bottle can provide to aching or sore muscles.
Although scientists have studied the subject for years, no one is really certain exactly how heat manages to get rid of pain. There are two possible explanations.
First, it may be that heat produces nerve impulses which help to stop pain impulses getting through to the brain (in exactly the same way that rubbing a sore elbow helps to stop the pain messages getting to the brain).
Second, it is known that when the tissues become heated the flow of blood is increased. Some scientists argue that the increased blood flow helps to get rid of chemicals such as histamine and prostaglandins which are responsible for the production of the feeling of pain.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter how heat manages to get rid of pain. The important thing is that it does.
Using heat to eradicate pain is not a new phenomenon. In countries all around the world medical historians have shown that doctors have for centuries used hot springs and hot soaking tubs to help patients overcome their pains.
And it seems that the pains associated with arthritis are especially likely to be controlled or conquered with the aid of heat.
Taken from How to Conquer Arthritis by Vernon Coleman. How to Conquer Arthritis is available as a hard cover book, paperback and an eBook.